Archive | December, 2012

DIY Mason Jar Sippy Cup

31 Dec

I always get asked about my daughter’s ‘redneck’ sippy cup when we are at restaurants or in stores so I figured I could share a quick tutorial on how I made it. It’s what you see pictured here.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a preference to drink from a glass over plastic. There’s something about the plastic that kind of smells when you hold it up to take a sip and makes your beverage taste a little like that too. Could be all the chemicals.

So, naturally, when my child started needing to drink something besides boobie milk, I searched and searched for a safe sippy cup and found a very small selection of them, but many of them were still made in China (another thing I try and avoid). We did try the glass bottle with sippy top from Life Factory (made in Italy) but my daughter wasn’t catching on to the fact that she had to tip it back to get water out which meant we were having to hold it for her any time she needed water.

After a couple of trials, this is what I came up with: a Ball-brand mason jar (made in USA) with a Zo-li silicone straw (silicone is BPA and phthalate-free). I love this straw because you have to bite and suck to get water out which made my daughter slow down when drinking and it has a ceramic ‘marble’ on the end so that no matter which way she tipped the jar, the end of the straw was always in the water. Find some here. So I drilled a couple of holes in a canning lid, slipped a straw in and had my own homemade sippy cup.

Then I found out that Ball-brand canning lids and bands are not made in the USA and potentially have BPA. I was informed that the BPA is not released until you are actually canning (high temps from a pressure cooker or boiling pot) but didn’t want to take any chances. The metal lid was also rusting at the point where I cut into it, which can’t be all that good.

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So, the next best thing I could conjure up was to use a plastic (BPA and phthalate-free) canning lid from Tattler (made in USA). No rust. No contaminants. No fuss. Nice thing, too, is that Tattler has a ‘sample’ package that contains 2 regular-mouth lids and 2 wide-mouth lids with the rubber rings for only $2.50, free shipping. Buy your own here.

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Okay, lengthy explanation aside, here’s what you need to get started:
power drill with drill bits for plastic
mason jar
tattler canning lid with rubber ring (or a metal one if you’re in a hurry to make this)
metal canning band
silicone straw

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This is what my drill bit set said: Split Point Titanium Coated for wood, metal, or plastic. Whatever you have, I would just make sure they are okay to use with plastic.

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Place the canning lid and rubber ring on the jar and screw down the metal band. This is just to hold everything in place so you won’t have to ask your husband to help.

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I used the largest bit I have to make a hole for the straw (5/16″).

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Then I used the smallest bit to make a hole to vent air (1/16″). This is necessary or you won’t be able to suck any water through the straw.

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Before you put everything together I would recommend scalding the glass, the canning lid and rubber ring and also cleaning the straw as the directions indicate. Check for any bits of plastic around the holes that might still be hanging on and pull or sand them off. Then you will very carefully pull the straw through the larger hole by rocking it back and forth. Basically, you don’t want to crack the plastic lid and you also don’t want to tear through the silicone in the straw. In the photos, you can see there are two ‘necks’ to the straw and one needs to sit above the lid and the other below.

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Fill it with water and test it before you give it to your child. You should experience yummy tasteless water (well, unless your water has a taste).

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I was able to make this sippy cup for under $10 ($2.50 for lids/rings and $6.99 for straws with a cleaner). The price of the mason jar was negligible as we have many of these on hand, but you can probably find them really cheap at thrift stores if you don’t want to buy a case of new ones. I have noticed, unfortunately, that they are no longer offering free shipping on the straws so your cup may cost you more than $10 but at least the package comes with 2, just like the canning lids, so you’ll be able to have a back-up on hand.

By the way, there is always another question paired with ‘where did you get that?’ when people see her cup. Everyone wants to know if I’m afraid she’s going to break it. I’ll let you know that she has used the very same jar for about 7 months now and has dropped (er…thrown?) it several times from her high chair to our linoleum floor and it has yet to break.

Also, if you’re looking for an adult version of this sippy, check out Cuppow for a plastic lid that’s also made in the USA and all that other good stuff.

Wait, so why wouldn’t I just use one of those instead of drilling holes in other lids and creating work for myself? The cuppow lid that’s made for a straw has a diamond-shaped opening that I’m not sure will be compatible with the silicone straw. If you try the cuppow with a Zo-li straw, I would love to know.

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Recipe: High-Altitude Oatmeal Surprise Cookies

30 Dec

There really isn’t much of a surprise to these cookies, but it seems standard for ‘surprise’ to get put in a name anytime there is something strange or different added. So, the surprise is really just a handful of walnuts and a shake of coconut from a bag, but it adds so much dimension to your run-of-the-mill oatmeal cookies. This recipe is adapted from the Quaker Oats recipe you get on the inside of the lid, but with some special little changes. They should come out a little soft and chewy in the middle but slightly crispy on the outside.

High-Altitude Oatmeal Surprise Cookies

Ingredients:
1/4 lb salted butter (1 stick), room temp
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2.5oz)
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (2.5oz)
1 tsp vital wheat gluten
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut

1. Cream butter with the sugars, stir in egg and vanilla.

2. Mix the flours, gluten, b. soda and cinnamon. Combine with wet ingredients and stir until everything is thoroughly mixed.

3. Fold in remaining ingredients: oats, raisins, walnuts and coconut.

4. Refrigerate dough at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F.

5. Bake on parchment-lined or greased cookie sheet approximately 12-14 minutes.

Notes: You can use unsalted butter, but throw in a dash of salt with the flour if you do. Also, I always weigh my flour and at 5800ft it seems 1cup = 5oz is pretty accurate. If you are baking these at sea level, reduce the flour slightly and adjust the baking time. And I tend to add gluten any time I’m using whole wheat flour when things aren’t normally intended to be baked with whole wheat flour (like cookies). Otherwise, you might end up with a total fail.

Knitting Pattern: Baby Bag Lady Mitts and Matching Cowl

28 Dec

When I can’t quite find useful things for my daughter for sale anywhere, I’ve learned that it’s usually easier to just figure out how to make your own. Namely, fingerless baby mittens. My daughter is a lot like me in that she’s not too crazy about accessories which would include socks, mittens, hats and the like. I thought I could get her to keep her mittens on by knitting some with a little hole she could still suck her thumb through, but she still pulled them off within minutes every time I put them on her. These fingerless mittens were born of the need to keep her hands (at least a little) warm and still let her inspect rocks and leaves on our jaunts outside last fall without the mittens getting in the way. The cowl was just an afterthought and an attempt to use up some of this mustard-colored yarn I have stashed, but we actually use it more than the mitts!

This is definitely one of my favorite photos of my daughter. The hat I made was a little too big and kept slipping down over her eyes.

baby bag lady mitts and matching cowl

Making hot breath art on the glass.

baby bag lady mitts and matching cowl

Cozy, warm neck.

baby bag lady mitts and matching cowl

And this photo was taken on a different day but I wanted to show you that she really does keep them on as long as she can still play in the dirt.

baby bag lady mitts and matching cowl

And the name of this pattern is, in all seriousness, no offense to homeless women but nearly every bag lady I’ve seen portrayed on TV is wearing some version of fingerless gloves.

Materials:
2 skeins Dolce Merino DK (wool/microfiber blend)
size 9 needles, set of dpns and 16″ or 24″ circular
tapestry or darning needle for weaving ends

Notes: Seed stitch (aka moss stitch) is just [k1, p1] repeated all the way around if you are knitting an odd number of stitches in the round. If using an even number of CO sts you will need to mark the beginning of your round and switch to [p1,k1] for every other round. Otherwise, you are just making a 1×1 rib stitch.

Cowl:
Holding yarn double, using circular needle, CO 101sts and join in the round, being careful not to twist. Knit seed stitch until the piece measures about 2 1/4″. BO all sts loosely in pattern. Weave in ends.

Mitts:
Holding yarn double, using dpns, CO 21sts, distribute sts evenly onto 3 needles and join in the round, being careful not to twist. Knit seed stitch for 10 rounds. Knit stockinette stitch for 7 rounds (knit every stitch). BO 5sts and continue knitting stockinette for another 5 rounds (rejoin your round over the gap of the bound off sts). BO all sts loosely in pattern. Weave in ends.

This size will fit approximately a 9-18mo child but you can adjust the size by going up or down in needle or yarn size, using a single strand, adjusting the number of stitches, etc. Just realize that if you are trying to making these for an older child, you will need to add a thumb gusset (which is not necessary for chunky toddler wrists and hands). And if you come across any mistakes while following this pattern, I would like to know so I can correct it before others attempt to follow it.

If you’re not a knitter or you don’t have the time to make your own, you can buy some in my shop! Visit Bebe Bijou Boutique on etsy.com. Also, you may reproduce these for sale as long as they are reproduced by you, in your home and design credits go to Bebe Bijou Boutique. You may not, however, reproduce this pattern for sale. If you would like to share the pattern please refer (or link) directly to this post. Thanks for looking!

DIY Reusable Snack Bag Tutorial

21 Dec

To get this blog off to a start I’m posting a tutorial for an item you can sew yourself (beginner or no).

You will need:
2 different styles of fabric, at least 7″x12″ in size each
fusible interfacing, at least 7″x12″
7″ strip of hook & loop tape (velcro)
sturdy paper for pattern
the obvious other things like scissors and thread

Start off by designing a pattern. I wanted my snack bags to have pull tabs at the top so that my daughter could open them herself with ease and I also based the size roughly on a standard ziploc snack bag which is 3.25″x6.5″ but I’m using 3″x6.5″. On top of that size, you must add seam allowance (1/4″ in my case), space for the velcro (I want the actual snack area to be snack-bag-size without velcro taking up that space), space for recessing the velcro, and space for the pull tabs. So the width of my pattern needs to be 7″ [6.5″ + (1/4″ seam allowance x 2)]. The height of my pattern needs to be 5.75″ (3″ + (1/4″ seam allowance x 2) + 3/4″ (width of velcro) + 1/4″ (space to recess the velcro) + 1.25″ (the height of my pull tab). The main rectangle of my pattern is 4.5″Hx7″W and the curved pull tab extends 1.25″ above that. Still with me? If the math is all really confusing you can just cut a rectangle 5.75″x7″ and cut some curves around the top to create a shape like this:

Use your pattern to cut out 2 pieces of interfacing, 2 pieces for the lining and 2 pieces for the outside of the pouch.

Fuse the interfacing to the 2 lining pieces using the instructions that came with the interfacing and sew the velcro in place. I pinned the velcro 1/2″ down from the top of the body section to accomodate for the recessing and the seam allowance and I sewed 3 total lines along each piece of velcro to make sure it stayed in place pretty well. Sew more if you’re worried.

Take one outer piece and one lining piece and pin them with right sides facing. Stitch 1/4″ along the top only (curved side). Repeat this step with the other 2 pieces. Then clip at the curves.

Turn both of these right side out, poking out as much of the pull tab as possible and press. Then turn both of them back inside out and pin so that the right side of the lining pieces face each other and the right side of the outer pieces face. Sew all the way around, leaving a 2 or 3″ opening at the bottom of the lining pieces (which you will use to turn everything right side out. Reinforce the gap with backstitching!! (I should have picked a contrasting thread for this tutorial, sorry.)

Clip the corners! This will help all of the corners look pointier when the pouch is complete. Just be sure you do not cut through the stitching.

Pry the velcro apart through the fabric and push everything out through the opening.

Push all of the corners out as much as possible, press, then sew the opening shut as close to the edge as possible (about 1/16″ seam) with backstitching to reinforce.

See how close my seam is?

This is roughly what your pouch should look like. Turn the lining into the outside of the pouch, press again, and topstitch 1/8″ from the top (optional).

Fill and enjoy!

It’s not as easy to take photos of things my daughter recognizes while she’s awake. She totally thought this pouch was full of treats for her.

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